Sourdough Bagels

As promised, here is that AMAZING sourdough bagel recipe from my friend Emilie Raffa!! The bagel dough is quickly thrown together the night before, rests on the counter overnight and then is baked off in the morning. SO GOOD!
Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

As I write this post, my sourdough starter is sitting on the counter in the kitchen growing and getting bubbly so I can mix together the dough for these Sourdough Bagels to bake off in the morning. Heaven. This recipe comes from Emilie Raffa’s book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple (she calls them Sunday Morning Bagels in her book) and she has graciously allowed me to share her recipe with you. I have talked about this cookbook A LOT — I love it so much! If you love sourdough, want more sourdough recipes, want to get started with sourdough or are just sourdough curious ;) I cannot recommend it enough!!

This is a pretty straight-forward recipe that turns out amazing every time. The key to its success is making sure you have a robust starter that is rising and falling predictably and has lots of large and small bubble development. I have my guide for making a sourdough starter here if you need to get one going (and I highly recommend you do!!). If you have a starter going, use it once it has doubled (or more) in size with lots of bubbles. I like to use mine when it’s reached its peak and you can continue to use it even once it’s fallen a bit. 

*IF* your starter isn’t super robust, you can throw a teaspoon of store-bought yeast in with your starter and the warm water. That will give you the taste of sourdough with the added insurance of store-bought yeast making sure everything rises properly. This is something I did during my early days of sourdough baking years ago. And it works!

I am loving sourdough baking more than ever right now! It’s incredibly cathartic and relaxing and best of all, you don’t have to leave the house to have warm bagels in the morning. This is definitely a lemon-lemonade scenario.

Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple


 

SCALE

Baking bread with a scale is so helpful, this is the one I use if you’re in the market. Otherwise, the cup measurements are also listed below!

SOURDOUGH STARTER

You can check out my sourdough starter guide here or you can call a local bakery and ask if they would share some of their sourdough starter with you (most are happy too do so!) if you can’t be bothered. As mentioned above, you want a bubbly active starter that has doubled in size and has lots of large and small bubble development. 

Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

 

TOPPINGS

I love to use Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning. You can also just sprinkle your bagels with sesame seeds or even simply sea salt flakes (which is delicious). To customize your bagel:

EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING 

To make your own everything season follow this recipe.

CINNAMON RAISIN BAGELS

From Emilie: “For cinnamon raisin bagels, add 6 grams (2 teaspoons) to the dry ingredients. While the dough is resting, soak 80 grams (1/2 cup) of raisins in warm water. Drain well before kneading them into the dough to incorporate.” Do this after the dough has been mixed.

FLOUR

Flour is a bit scarce right now; this is a great resource for sourcing local flour across the US and worldwide. Bob’s Red Mill is set to be back in stock later this month (April 2020), same with King Arthur Flour. If you only have all-purpose flour (and no bread flour), you can still make them. You may need a touch more flour (added very conservatively at 1 tablespoon at a time) as the all-purpose flour won’t absorb as much moisture as the bread flour resulting in a slightly stickier dough.

Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

 

INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions below are Emilie’s from her book. I added my own notes in italics.

 

SEA SALT

I love salt. I add a full 1 tablespoon of sea salt to the dough and I think you should consider it. Just saying.

 

MIXER

You don’t have to have an electric stand mixer to make these bagels. The instructions will reference it, but you can mix and knead using those beautiful arms of yours.

HUMIDITY

A quick note about humidity… If you live in a dry climate consider covering the bowl with plastic wrap while the dough rests overnight to keep moisture in there. A damp towel, as recommended in the instructions, can dry out overnight and there is nothing more frustrating than when the top of your dough develops a scab (from lack of moisture). I hate to recommend plastic wrap, so if you can come up with another way to keep it sealed, use that and let me know in the comments below so we can help others.

Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

 

SCHEDULE

Feed your starter in the morning, mix the dough in the afternoon/evening when your starter has reached its peak and then allow the bagel dough to rest and rise overnight while you sleep. When you wake up, proceed with Step 3. This is known as living your best life.

QUESTIONS + SUBSTITUTIONS

If you have any questions regarding the technique or substitutions, please leave them in the comments below so that they can help others and I will answer as soon as possible to help you along!

Let’s bake some badass sourdough bagels, shall we?

Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple
Sourdough Bagels | DisplacedHousewife Rebecca Firth; Recipe from Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

Sourdough Bagels

As promised, here is that AMAZING sourdough bagel recipe from my friend Emilie Raffa!! The bagel dough is quickly thrown together the night before, rests on the counter overnight and then is baked off in the morning. SO GOOD!
4.85 from 38 votes
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Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Bagels
Servings: 8 -16
Author: Emilie Raffa

Ingredients

For the Bagels

  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) active starter
  • 250 grams (1 cup plus 2 teaspoons) warm water
  • 24 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 500 grams (4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) bread flour
  • 9 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) fine sea salt (I use 1 tablespoon of sea salt in this dough)
  • 20 grams (1 tablespoon) honey

To Garnish

  • You can use everything seasoning see note above, cinnamon raisin variation (also see note above), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt flakes…get frisky

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • In a large bowl, whisk the starter, water and sugar together with a fork. Add the flour and salt. Combine to form a rough dough, then finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the flour. Because this dough is stiff, consider using a stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook attachment) to give your hands a break; run on low speed for 5-6 minutes to combine. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, replenish your starter with fresh flour and water. Store according to preferences. After the dough has rested, work the mass into a semi-smooth ball, about 15-20 seconds and place in a large bowl that’s lightly oiled.

Bulk Rise

  • Cover with a damp towel and let rise until double in size, about 8-10 hours at room temperature, 70F (21C). Note, this dough can also be stashed airtight in the fridge for several days until ready to bake if you can’t get to making them right away.

Shape

  • Line a sheet pan with nonstick silicon mat or parchment paper. If using parchment, lightly coat with cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking. Remove the dough onto a non-floured surface. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and divide into 8 equal pieces, about 115 grams (4 ounces) each. (I divided mine into 16 pieces for more, smaller bagels). Gather the ends, flip the dough over and roll each piece into a ball. Let the dough rest on your sheet pan for 10-15 minuets to relax the gluten. Working with one ball of dough at a time, poke a hole straight through the center. Lift up the dough, insert both index fingers through the center hole and barrel roll to gently stretch the opening to about the size of a walnut. When finished, place the dough back onto your sheet pan. It’s ok if the hole shrinks slightly. Repeat shaping the remaining dough. Set on the prepared baking sheet.

Second Rise

  • Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes. The dough will puff up only slightly at this stage. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the honey and whisk well to dissolve. Preheat your oven to 425F (220C). Add the seeds and/or any other toppings to a rimmed tray or shallow bowl.

Boil the Bagels

  • Add 2-3 bagels into the pot and wait for them to float to the top, about 10 seconds (some will float immediately). Cook for 30 seconds on each side for a thin crust. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bagels back to the sheet pan you used earlier, placing them rounded side up. Once slightly cool but still wet, dip the rounded side of the bagels into the seeds (or whatever topping, if using) to coat. Place back onto the sheet pan and finish boiling the rest of the bagels.

Bake!

  • Bake the bagels for about 20-25 minutes in the center of the oven. Flip them over to briefly cook the bottom side, about 1-2 minutes or less. When ready, your bagels will be puffed up and light golden brown, and they will feel light to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, but indulge yourself and eat one (or two) warm. The chewy texture of bagels is best enjoyed when made fresh. Stir tin a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2 days. Bagels freeze well; freeze them whole or slice, covered in plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months.
Thanks for baking with me! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

 

123 Comments

  • Cristina Valenzuela June 24, 2021 at 1:04 PM

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe, I make 13 bagels with one batch. Fantastic! I let the dough rest overnight in the fridge, next morning i formed the bagels, in the afternoon i bake them…mmmmm

    Reply
  • Kelly April 28, 2021 at 11:35 AM

    What am I missing here… This bagel recipe calls for 3/4 C of active starter. Before I go to feed my starter, I have about 1 C of starter. Sometimes closer to 3/4 C of starter. How can I use all of my starter in a recipe? I’d have nothing left to keep feeding. Can I use 3/4 C of discard instead?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth April 28, 2021 at 11:45 AM

      Hi Kelly! To prep for making these, you could opt not to discard any starter, feed it, wait for it to rise and be ready and then take what you need for the bagels. That should leave you with ample starter.

      Let me know if that’s unclear or I’m not understanding the question (or if you have any others)!!
      xox

      Reply
      • Kelly April 28, 2021 at 11:54 AM

        I guess I’m not understanding what happens if I use up all my starter? Would I have to create a new starter from scratch? Or create a starter off the discard in my fridge? I have a starter on my counter that I’ve been feeding twice daily. I also have a stash of discard in the fridge. Could I take 3/4 C of discard from my fridge, warm it to room temp and use that in this recipe (instead of 3/4 C starter)?

        Reply
        • Rebecca Firth April 28, 2021 at 12:01 PM

          You want to use fresh, active starter for the recipe. I would recommend that you feed the starter you have on your counter (without discarding anything first). Let it rise and get bubbly and then take out what you need for the recipe. If you don’t discard anything prior to feeding, this should leave you with ample starter.

          Is your starter pretty active?

          Reply
  • Lisa April 27, 2021 at 6:07 AM

    I’m still trying to get the shaping just right. I’ve been making these for almost a year now (has it really been that long??). The tops of the bagels looks perfect but when I flip them over, they have ruffles. LOL. Not sure if I need to ball them up better or not. This is a really stiff dough.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth April 28, 2021 at 11:42 AM

      Hi Lisa! Quick question…are you weighing your ingredients or do you live in a dry area? The dough shouldn’t be so stiff they’re hard to shape.

      The bottom should be smooth and I’m thinking it could be the way they’re getting rolled…if the bottom isn’t smooth when they’re rolled then that could cause the ruffling. If you cup your hand loosely over the top of the dough ball and move it in a circular motion, I find that creates a smooth bottom (does that make sense?).

      I wish we could make them together!! Let me know about the humidity, measurements and if my ball rolling ;) description helps.

      I’m so happy you love these!!
      xox

      Reply
      • Lisa May 1, 2021 at 9:39 PM

        5 stars
        You’re so awesome. I live in a fairly humid area (North TX) and measure everything now. I think it’s because I’m not getting the balling technique right. When I roll them I guess I’m not rolling them enough?? I’ve got another batch resting right now. I’m going to get some sleep and try again in the morning. With or without the “ruffles”, we eat these up! Thanks for the recipe.

        Reply
      • lisa May 2, 2021 at 6:40 AM

        Reporting back after this morning’s bake. I think the humidity may be at play here. The last two batches were really extra thick, so maybe the recent rains helped me out here. I noticed today that my dough was softer again. After rolling them into little balls, the bottoms were a bit more closed. Thick dough or not, it’s still a great recipe and thank you so much for putting this out there. <3

        Reply
        • Rebecca Firth May 2, 2021 at 8:04 AM

          Hi Lisa!! Thank you so much for reporting back—I love hearing follow up. I’m also insanely jealous of your humidity. Your skin must be glowy!! ♥️ …enjoy your bagels and this beautiful Sunday!! xox

          Reply
  • Barb Tully April 21, 2021 at 8:40 AM

    I’m used to the yeasted bagel recipe by Peter Reinhart, and have made them many times with great results. For the recipe you are using for sourdough bagels I’m concerned about the amount of sugar in the recipe. Is there a reason for that amount of sugar? What happens if I reduce the sugar? Or eliminate it? How about adding diastatic malt powder? Thanks for any advice you can give.

    Reply
  • Karen March 5, 2021 at 9:34 AM

    5 stars
    Hi! I found you through your post on Emilie Raffa’s Sourdough bagel recipe that you posted on your website. I have a quick question. On the recipe, you mention on the bulk rise section that the dough can be stashed in the fridge for later use. Is that before or after the bulk rise? I have a dilemma for this weekend and this answer will really help

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 5, 2021 at 9:38 AM

      Hi Karen! When I did this, I had it on the counter for 2-3 hours during the bulk rise and then realized I had no time to make the bagels the next morning so I stashed the dough in the fridge. It stayed in there for 2/3 days. I then pulled it out, shaped them and didn’t proceed until they were no longer cool to the touch (if my memory serves). Does this help? I’m happy to give more detail or answer any more questions!! xox

      Reply
      • Karen March 5, 2021 at 9:49 AM

        This is perfect!! Did they rise like normal given that they didn’t do a full bulk rise?

        Reply
        • Rebecca Firth March 5, 2021 at 10:59 AM

          Hmm…you’re asking me to dig back into my quarantine memory ;)…I think those several days in the fridge and then the time on the counter was enough…I don’t recall thinking they were lacking.

          I just looked through the comments and there are so many questions about a cold ferment…once my Cake Book photos are done (April 1st!!!)…I will dive into some testing so I can give everyone a more definitive (and thoroughly tested) response!!! xox

          Reply
          • Karen March 5, 2021 at 7:45 PM

            Thank you so much!!

          • Rebecca Firth March 5, 2021 at 8:06 PM

            Of course! xox

          • Karen March 6, 2021 at 4:56 PM

            5 stars
            Your advice was perfect! The bagels have turned out amazing with lots of rise!

  • Jonathan March 3, 2021 at 12:40 PM

    If making the dough several days ahead and letting it rest in the fridge for several days, do I need to let it rise at room temperature initially for 8 hours, then punch it down followed by putting it in the fridge for several days?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 5, 2021 at 9:40 AM

      Hi Jonathan!
      I think you could totally do it this way. When I did it, I had it on the counter for 2-3 hours during the bulk rise and then realized I had no time to make the bagels the next morning so I stashed the dough in the fridge. It stayed in there for 2/3 days. I then pulled it out, shaped them and didn’t proceed until they were no longer cool to the touch (if my memory serves). This ‘method’ was more a victim of circumstance rather than recipe testing, FYI.

      I think the way you outlined would work great. Let me know how it goes. xox

      Reply
  • Rebecca Firth February 24, 2021 at 3:26 PM

    Hi Meegan! I’m so happy you liked these!! It’s such a great recipe!!

    The Pour Me A Martini pizza recipe on my site has sourdough options. I also have a bread, cinnamon roll and new pizza recipe (that are all sourdough based) that I’ve been finessing for a year now and really want to post. As soon as I’m finished with The Cake Book editing and photos (soon, hopefully!!), I will get them on the site!!
    xox

    Reply
  • Beth March 25, 2021 at 12:38 PM

    4 stars
    The bagels turned out great except that they didn’t puff up as much as yours did in the oven! I followed the steps exactly. Any idea why that might be?

    Reply
  • Barb Tully April 21, 2021 at 9:00 AM

    5 stars
    Barley malt syrup, found in brewers’ supply stores.

    Reply
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